Convicted child rapist went to ground after becoming the target of a hate campaign

Blackpool Gazette (U.K.)

A CONVICTED child rapist went to ground after becoming the target of a hate campaign.
Pensioner John Harness moved from Blackburn to Blackpool but did not tell the police.

Harness, 71, was put on the sex offenders register for life and jailed for eight years after being found guilty in 1998 of five charges of raping a girl under the age of 16.

The pensioner, formerly of Hornby Road, Blackpool, who told the court he now had no fixed address, pleaded guilty to breaching a sex offenders registration order by failing to notify police of his address between September 1 2006 and March 28 this year.

He was sentenced to five months imprisonment by Blackpool magistrates.

Prosecutor Julie Fogarty said in March this year police went to flats on Hornby Road, Blackpool, on an unrelated matter and were told Harness had lived there for three weeks.

Checks revealed Harness was a convicted sex offender and the address he had registered with police was Bolton Road, Blackburn. When police went to that address the landlord said Harness had left in 2006.

Harness said he had not told police about his move because police would tell people he was on the sex offenders register.

Gerry Coyle, defending, said his client had originally lived at Leeds Close, Blackburn.

Mr Coyle added: "Police decided to check he was still there and because they spoke to people in the street, he became the target of threats and abuse.

"Petrol was poured through his door and lit. He then moved to a bed and breakfast in Bolton Road.

"After spending time in hospital that address was no longer available to him. He moved to Blackpool and did not tell the police of his address because he feared they would tell others."

Man, accused of fondling, found hanged at Mayer home

By Jim Schultz
Thursday, October 4, 2007

Redding, CA
LEFT BEHIND: Redding police Detective Bill Schueller pets a dog at the La Rinconada Place home of former Redding Bank ofCommerce CEO Michael Mayer on Wednesday after Schueller and others investigated an apparent suicide there. The dog was later taken to the home of a friend of Mayer’s for safekeeping, Schueller said.


LEFT BEHIND: Redding police Detective Bill Schueller pets a dog at the La Rinconada Place home of former Redding Bank ofCommerce CEO Michael Mayer on Wednesday after Schueller and others investigated an apparent suicide there. The dog was later taken to the home of a friend of Mayer’s for safekeeping, Schueller said. View gallery »

A middle-aged man was found hanging Wednesday from a rope attached to an oak tree in the backyard of the upscale home of former Redding Bank of Commerce CEO Michael Mayer.

But Redding police would not confirm that the victim was the 51-year-old former bank executive charged with molesting a 16-year-old girl in August.

The man's identity won't be released until relatives are notified, said Redding police Capt. Peter Hansen.

No one else was home at the time of the apparent suicide, Hansen said.

Flanked by newspaper, radio and television reporters, Hansen said police went to Mayer's La Rinconada Place home about 4:30 p.m. after a neighbor reported seeing someone hanging from the tree inside the wrought-iron fence enclosing the backyard.

Speaking from Mayer's manicured front yard, Hansen said it appeared that the man's death was a suicide. He declined to say if a suicide note had been left and said that the case has been turned over to the Shasta County coroner's office.

Most of those who live on the street in Mayer's quiet and heavily treed neighborhood stayed indoors as police investigated the hanging, and those who did briefly venture outside politely declined to talk to reporters.

Mayer was arrested Aug. 19 after a 16-year-old family friend told police that Mayer had sexually assaulted her at the house where the body was found Wednesday.

Eight days later, Redding Bank of Commerce fired him from its top job, which last year paid him $455,000 in salary, benefits and other compensation.

When he was arrested, police reported that the 16-year-old girl had told them that Mayer massaged her shoulders and back in a darkened family room where Mayer's daughter and niece were lying on the floor watching television.

She also told police she was "not sure what to do" when the massage allegedly went too far and Mayer fondled her breasts and groin, the police report said.

Mayer's wife told police that her husband, who had been drinking heavily that day, "lost it" after being confronted by the alleged molestation, and that he had threatened to kill himself, the report said.

Charged with two counts of felony sexual penetration and misdemeanor counts of annoying a child, sexual battery and indecent exposure, Mayer was released from jail on $100,000 bail.

The court also ordered him not to drink or to have firearms, and to stay away from female minors unless a responsible adult was present.

Mayer's last Superior Court appearance was on Sept. 17 when Judge William Gallagher agreed to hear the case after two other judges recused themselves.

Reporter Jim Schultz can be reached at 225-8223 or at jschultz@redding.com.

Sex-offender checks in schools

Prince William County Public Schools is implementing a new electronic Visitor Identification System in all schools.

Effective December 3, Adults visiting Prince William Public Schools will have to present government-issued identification under a new security measure designed to keep sex offenders out. The computerized system runs each visitor against state-run offender databases nationwide to keep track of who visits students.

"This gives us an instant check on whether or not somebody coming into a school, be it a parent, an offender, what have you, is in a national [sex offender] database," incoming school board Chairman Milton Johns said.

The new computerized system, which costs $130,000 to start and about $37,000 each year, has been used on three campuses since a pilot program began in the spring. [Ed: Wait a minute! I can do this check with my $1,000 computer and an Internet connection. Why $130K + $37K/year? Also, when was the last time you heard of a sex offender (who wasn't a teacher) entering a school during classes and either molesting or kidnapping a student? This is sheer madness!]

"When you walk in, they run your driver's license through a scanner the size of a hand-held stapler. It takes your name and date of birth and runs it against the sex-offender databases in every state and would look for a match," he said. Photos will be used to compare people with identical names and birthdays.

If a parent with a legitimate educational reason for being on the campus has a hit on the database, the school staff will take extra caution and restrict him or her to the office area, Crowe said.

Psychologist Says Registry Contributed to Murder

By Dr. Charlene Steen -- Letters to the EditorArticle Last Updated: 11/27/2007 10:48:49 PM PST
Thanks to the internet registry, which has done nothing to decrease recidivism, a client of mine is dead murdered in Lake County, simply because he was a sex offender whose name and picture were on the registry.


He had recently been released from the hospital after years of treatment. He had changed his life, and, at age 68, had plans for a positive future, family love and support, a job, etc. A man broke into his trailer, stabbed him numerous times someone he didn't even know, only because he was on the registry.

I am sickened, not only because of his murder, but because we have not condemned the stigmatization of offenders through useless laws which will not decrease reoffense, and may even increase offending.

I am sickened by our lack of humanity. How many more such murders will there have to be? Will no one stand up and change these draconian laws which protect no one, and cause pain, suffering, and even death to persons who have committed no new crimes?
Charlene Steen, PhD
Licensed psychologist
Napa

Dodele Murder: An Inconvenient Truth?

Michael Dodele, age 61, was murdered November 20 in Lake County California. His alleged assailant was Garcia Oliver, 29, who lived in the same trailer park. In contention is Oliver's motivation in the brutal knife attack. Many suspect Oliver to have been motivated to kill Dodele after learning that Dodele was listed on California's Registered Sex Offender website. Others are denying that this was a factor in Dodele's murder, including some public officials.

This raises a question: are police investigators and District Attorneys (most of whom favor "Megan's Law" websites and "name and shame" flyers) less likely to publicize the motivation of an accused assailant when their investigations turn up evidence that "community notification" may have provided the impetus to commit a murder? Are we less likely to learn these details than if it were any other "straightforward" murder?

-Allan Marshall

Sex offender gets 1 year for teaching driving

A convicted sex offender who held a job as a driving school instructor was sentenced to one year in the Waukesha County Jail with work release privileges after he was found guilty Wednesday of breaking a state law that prohibits people convicted of child sex crimes from holding jobs that put them in regular contact with children under 16.

William T. Webb, 46, of Milwaukee was charged with committing the felony in December 2005 while he was employed as an instructor for Arcade Drivers School out of Brookfield Square in 2004 and 2005. His case was believed to be the first use in Waukesha County of the 10-year-old law and among the first uses statewide.

Webb, who was convicted of a child sex offense in 1992 in Washington state, claimed he was not aware of the Wisconsin law barring him from working with children. Nonetheless, Schimel said, Webb violated the law and should be punished.

Webb told Waukesha County Circuit Judge Lee S. Dreyfus Jr. that he "never had any ill or sinister intent" when he took the driving school job. At first, he was employed only to train driving instructors. He began instructing students because he needed more work hours. "I took the job seriously. . . . I never took advantage of anyone. I never put anyone in danger," Webb told Dreyfus.[Ed: Keep in mind, he was not on Parole or Probation during the time he worked as a driving instructor. He had served his time. Nonetheless, he was committing a FELONY by working in an occupation that brought him into contact with minors]

Mason County sex offender missing

KING5.com
MASON COUNTY, Wash. – A convicted child rapist [Ed: what they should say here is that he was a "child" when he "raped" another child] who is considered at high risk to reoffend has vanished and police want people to keep an eye out for him.
Joshuah Adam Briggs, 20, was living in Belfair, but has not been seen in some time.
Briggs was convicted of first-degree child rape in 2000 when he was 13-years-old of raping a nine-year-old girl. He also admitted to sexually assaulting the girl on another occasion.

Last June, Briggs moved from Yakima County to Mason County, but did not tell authorities. He was arrested and pled guilty to failing to register as a sex offender.
Now, because of this latest disappearance from the Belfair area, the Mason County Sheriff's Office has raised his sex offender status from Level One to Level Three, meaning he is considered at high risk to strike again. Brigg is white, 6 feet tall, 200 pounds with brown hair and green eyes.
If you see him, police say to call them immediately, but do not approach him. [Ed: Oh, please! As if he's terribly dangerous! This is a perfect example of the press printing whatever the hell the police ask them to print. Also, this is a good time to point out that the word "rape" as it is used to describe sex acts with minors is about as reliably accurate as the term "sexually violent predator". Take it with an entire box of salt!]

Perils of bans on ex-sex offenders

Christian Science Monitor

Politicians should heed a state supreme court that has voided a ban on where sex offenders live.Last week, Georgia's supreme court became the first high court in the US to overturn a state law that restricts areas where former sex offenders may live. More than half the states have such laws, and many amount to banishment. Perhaps this decision will nudge politicians to reconsider these laws.

The Georgia case wasn't argued on the emerging view that the residency bans are counterproductive. Rather, it turned on an unusual application of the Fifth Amendment, which says the government may not take private property without just compensation.

The case concerned Anthony Mann. In 2002, he pled no contest to "indecent liberties with a child," then served four months in jail, followed by probationary supervision. In 2003, he married and bought a home in Georgia. Mr. Mann made sure it did not lie within 1,000 feet of any area where minors gather as defined by the state.

But a day-care center moved to within 1,000 feet of the Manns. His probation officer said he must move or face arrest. Mann sued, arguing the law was unconstitutional because it amounted to an illegal "taking" of private property.

The state supreme court unanimously agreed, adding that Mann faced repeated uprooting. This time, a day-care center broke the 1,000-foot barrier, the court found. Next time it could be a playground, a school bus stop, a skating rink.

The ruling voided the residency part of Georgia's sex-offender law. The decision, though, may not have much legal impact outside the state. Most state residency bans aren't as severe, and the case rests uniquely on property rights.

But the ruling will do well if it persuades lawmakers that blanket residency bans are no response to public fears stemming from tragic, high-profile cases of convicted child predators repeating their crimes.

Such fears are understandable but misplaced. About 80 to 90 percent of child sexual abuse occurs with a family member or someone a child knows. And sex offenders have among the lowest recidivism rates of any class of criminals. Yet sweeping residency restrictions that focus on "stranger-danger" have multiplied in states and cities.

Several studies show no correlation between child sex offenses and where perpetrators live. Law enforcers now argue that bans make things worse. Zones overlap, ruling out living possibilities in urban areas. Offenders are forced into rural America, far from jobs, treatment, and family, which provide stability and rehabilitation. Full Story

We hate to say we told you so... The flaws in 'Jessica's Law'

Who will pay for enforcing it? How do we penalize those who break it? And who trains the enforcers? No one seems to know.

Los Angeles Times

We hate to say we told you so. But we told you so! A key portion of the "Jessica's Law" ballot measure that an astounding 70% of California voters backed a year ago may never be put into effect. Times staff writer Michael Rothfeld reported Tuesday that state and local officials are each expecting the other to foot the very big bill to monitor global positioning satellite data to track thousands of released sex offenders. Forever.

Other details no one seems to have thought about much when sending Proposition 83 to last November's ballot include how to penalize released offenders who cut the GPS signaling devices from their ankles; no such penalties were mandated by the initiative. Or how to train police and sheriff's deputies to track the movements of offenders through their jurisdictions, in addition to their regular public safety tasks.

The tough-on-crime lobby made the initiative sound so simple: Do you want to protect California's children from 65,000 sex offenders or don't you? Of course you do. So it appealed directly to the emotions of people who revile those who rape and sexually abuse children: Increase the offenders' sentences. After their time is served, restrict where they can live. And track their movements for life by using the power of new technologies.

Fear of monsters and faith in technology. The combination is powerful enough to defeat reason -- and to create ballot measures that promise magical results while delivering only magical thinking. California is prone to that kind of ballot-box daydreaming.

Initiatives would be unnecessary if the Legislature worked better. Had Jessica's Law been restricted to a bill, the Legislature could have identified the practical problems and could have corrected any flaws with follow-up legislation. But the Legislature is a mess, and legislators are unmotivated to fix it. Lawmakers blew a chance to change the way their districts are drawn, leaving the Democratic majority with power to block Republican bills and the Republican minority with just enough clout to block a budget. The job of improving the system falls to the voters, which means action -- perhaps a redistricting plan -- in the form of an initiative.

Here we go again. More ballot measures. More magical thinking. At this rate, it will take an eternity before California breaks the cycle of dysfunction. Perhaps by then, we will have figured out how to enforce our new law to track sex offenders.

Sex offense, stabbing connected?

Stabbing death investigation continues
[please note the vicious reader comments which follow the story]

By GLENDA ANDERSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is investigating whether Michael Dodele’s status as a registered sex offender contributed to his Nov. 20 stabbing death.

“That’s what we’re looking into,” said Chief Deputy Russ Perdock. He would not divulge details of Dodele’s criminal history nor his relationship with the man suspected of stabbing him, Ivan Garcia Oliver, 29.

Dodele, 67, was stabbed several times.

He was dead when deputies arrived at Western Hills Mobile Home Park on Lakeshore Boulevard.

Garcia Oliver was booked later the same day on suspicion of murder and a parole violation stemming from an assault conviction in San Diego County.

The victim and suspect are believed to have known each other. They lived near each other at the mobile home park, Perdock said.

Reader Comments:

By saunterelle | Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007 06:47P
Thank you to this latino for taking care of business.

By orvicehole | Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007 06:34P
tIME TO DIE LOSER.

By robert5523 | Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007 04:20P
Why do I suspect nobody cares that the troublemaker got himself murdered? And, who wants to bet that, yes, he goosed the wrong guy & thats what started it.

By saunterelle | Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007 03:58P
Good. One less pederass.
[this reminds me of how, once whipped-up into a frenzy of anti-Jewish hatred, many Germans felt fully justified in inflicting violent revenge against any Jew at any moment of their choosing and did so with impunity. It is especially disturbing when this sort of blood-thirsty response becomes commonplace and goes unprotested]

Man Serving Sex Assault Sentence Murdered

Inmate Died From Head, Chest Trauma
WYFF4.com

RIDGELAND, S.C. -- Department of Corrections officials said that a Spartanburg man who was serving a sentence for sexual exploitation of minors was found dead at the prison.

An autopsy found that Thomas Walter Turner, 40, died of head and chest trauma.

Authorities said that they had initially thought that Turner died of natural causes. He was found dead at Ridgeland Correctional Institution about 8:45 p.m. on Nov. 20.

South Carolina Department of Corrections Communications Director Josh Gelinas said an investigation was begun immediately after the autopsy results were released.

In October 2005, Turner started serving a 16-year sentence for criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Ridgeland is a medium security facility.

Turner was arrested in May 2005 after State Law Enforcement agents found pictures of boys and girls having sex on Turner's home computer.

At the time of that arrest, Turner was a registered sex offender, having been convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in 1998.

Viability of California's sex-offender law in doubt

The lifetime GPS monitoring of Prop. 83 too costly and complex to fully implement.
By Michael Rothfeld, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 27, 2007

SACRAMENTO -- -- Law enforcement leaders who pushed for a ballot initiative requiring sex offenders in California to be tracked by satellite for life are now saying that the sweeping surveillance program voters endorsed is not feasible and is unlikely to be fully implemented for years, if ever. ...
Under the measure, approved overwhelmingly a year ago, sex offenders must be strapped with global positioning system devices that can record their whereabouts even after they finish parole and leave the criminal justice system. ...

The difficulties include the impracticality of tracking sex offenders who no longer must report to parole or probation officers, the lack of any penalty for those who refuse to cooperate with monitoring and the question of whether such widespread tracking is effective in protecting the public. ... the law does not specify which agency or government should monitor felony sex offenders -- and shoulder hundreds of millions of dollars a year in related costs. ...

...GPS is more effective for acting on tips about potential crimes or investigating incidents that have already occurred than for blanket monitoring that reveals a location as a blip on a map but not what the subject is doing there. ...

Janet Gaard, an assistant state attorney general, told colleagues that Proposition 83 appeared to be "a flawed law," ..."We have the ability to persuade the public and say, 'Maybe we made a mistake,' " Gaard said. ...

State officials say 500 to 700 more sex offenders leave prison each month ...
and it would take nearly $90 million a year just to track the 9,000 now on parole if all were subject to Proposition 83. Full Story [Ed: Senator Runner and the Governor didn't think this through first? They were just pandering to public
ignorance and vindictiveness? What a surprise!!

Solution: Put R.S.O.'s in trailers to be moved regularly around the county

Suffolk County to Keep Sex Offenders on the Move
By COREY KILGANNON, New York Times

Suffolk County officials have long searched for ways to provide temporary housing for homeless sex offenders... Now officials of this county on Long Island say they have a solution: putting sex offenders in trailers to be moved regularly around the county, parked for several weeks at a time on public land away from residential areas and enforcing stiff curfews.

The trailers will be moved from one undisclosed spot to the next “every one to two weeks, three at the most,” Mr. Blass said. Officials will select sites on county-owned land, often bordering commercial and industrial-zoned areas. Under county law, offenders must not live within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, day care centers or nursing homes.

“They will be located in large, undeveloped areas away from communities,” Mr. Blass said, adding that by law he could not reveal the locations. ... By switching spots frequently, county officials hope to avoid offenders’ getting too accustomed to one area and settling there in numbers. ...It’s an attempt to prevent saturation.” ... Kate Browning, a county legislator from Shirley, who has been an outspoken critic of clustering sex offenders, said the plan would “spread them around so that every area has their fair share of the burden.” Full Story [Ed: The scary thing is, these people are serious!]

Mob Rule: Group pickets restaurant over placement of sex offender

Parolee's home is owned by proprietor of Racine eatery; owner of another restaurant leading the protest
BRENDAN O’BRIEN,
Journal Times

RACINE — Darcy Powell lives in a gray, nondescript house surrounded by a well-kept yard on a dead-end street.

There is no name on his mailbox. There is no car in the driveway. There is no sunlight that enters his house since the white shades are kept closed and down.

The dwelling he lives in is among four other houses on a roadway on the northwest edge of Kenosha County in the Town of Somers. On the other side of the two-lane road, there is a small basketball hoop in a driveway, a trampoline in a backyard and an assortment of children’s playthings.

Powell, who was convicted of two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child and two counts of incest with a child in 1996, preyed on children for years. He now lives in the clutches of the state’s Chapter 980, a program that binds convicted sex offenders to a tightly supervised life outside of prison.

“He is living in his own little prison,” his mentor, Terry Maack, the deacon of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Kenosha, said Sunday afternoon.

“I can’t talk ... I am not allowed to,” Powell said at his home Sunday.

Maack indicated that Powell, who was released in 2005, is monitored by two tracking bracelets and cannot leave his house without being accompanied by a mentor. He is also given random 3-hour lie detector tests; is not to purchase, possess or consume drugs or alcohol; and is to have no contact with minors, the victims or victims’ families.

“He has 49 regulations that he has to live by, day to day, and he has never missed one fraction. He is trying and he realizes what he did was terrible and horrible,” said Maack, who described Powell as a model parolee. “The man’s penance is going to be for the rest of his life ... losing his family, knowing what he did and being shunned by society.” Full Story